I always had a kind of mysterious image of Switzerland. I was a child, about 10 years old when I first heard about this country. There was a Swiss man, more specifically, a Hungarian man living in Switzerland, who came to us from time to time to buy aquarium fish, my father was doing at the time. It was a sensation for me as a child when he brought us an original Swiss chocolate bar as a gift. With that red-and-gold crucifix logo, which I cherished so much, I only broke 1-1 cube of it for weeks. This Swiss man was always very precise. If he said he would be there at 9:00 a.m., he arrived by 9:00 a.m., after 800 to 1,000 kilometers of driving. All this happened in the early 1990s when there was no cell phone or car navigation to predict the exact arrival time. My childhood worldview of Switzerland was equal to fine chocolates and punctuality. Fifteen years after the Swiss man showed up in our house, I went on a similarly beautiful autumn day to Switzerland for the first time in my life. I spent almost 10 days there and visited many sites in the country. Through my most memorable pictures now I’m telling you how the autumn was in Switzerland.
The Rhine Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls on the European continent, with a height of 23 meters and a width of 150 meters. The water’s going down with a loud bang: 700 m3 in every second! I am afraid of heights so it was a little scary standing here, almost without parapets. Though it was also a great experience because I could really see the power of nature up close. Sometimes it’s worth stepping out of your own comfort zone. By boat, you can go all the way to the rocks at the bottom of the waterfall. For this, a raincoat or poncho is highly recommended.
Switzerland wouldn’t be Switzerland without the Jungfrau and train ride. We only got to the 2061-meter Kleine Scheideg. Unfortunately, this can be attributed to the expense of the bus cruise. Understandably, not everyone wanted to issue 190 Swiss francs (about HUF 50,000) for train rides to the terminus. Next time I will definitely take the train up to Jungfraujoch, which is the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). The most spectacular part of the journey is the passage through the 7 km long tunnel, which is followed by 100! they dug into the rock years ago. The train is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the panorama above is not expected to be comparable to anything. This is really the top of Europe!
Luzern is a picturesque town. Its main attraction is the wooden bridge (Kappelbrücke) built in the 1300s, with a water tower in the middle. It was the first covered bridge in Europe, belongs also to UNESCO World Heritage. Geranium mania showed up also on this, but it’s so beautiful, isn’t it? If you’re already in Switzerland, you need to pay attention to accuracy and Swiss clocks of course. I have seen nice clock towers in many places (e.g. Bern, Zurich) during the tour, but for me, this one in Luzern remained my favorite, probably because of its simplicity.
Sankt Gallen Cathedral is one of the last baroque churches in Europe. The exterior of the building is not so eye-catching, but the interior of the malachite with green decorations and the monumental altar is convincing. Speaking of Sankt Gallen, you should not miss this. There is a rococo library in the city, which is amazingly beautiful. Not surprisingly, it’s listed as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The library is the home of many valuable scrolls and monastic codes and has a unique cultural value.
Even as a child, I knew Switzerland is equivalent to fine chocolates. We took part in an exciting tour at the Callier Museum, where you can sample chocolate making and the history of famous brands. I totally had a feeling about Charlie and the chocolate factory.
In Gruyère, cheese is all that. In the famous factory, you can get an insight into the mysteries of cheese making, how cow’s milk becomes a yellow roll after long processes (e.g. vaccine and yeast injection, pressing, salt bath). By the time these cheeses come in and go to the shelves of the shops, they’ll have to wait months. I put my sorrows in a cheese fondue in a restaurant next to the factory.
Chillon Castle is Switzerland’s most visited historic building. Built on the shores of Lake Geneva, the water castle has been home to royal tying houses since the 11th century. It was also a dungeon: the members of the House of Savoy chained their most feared political prisoners to the wrought-iron rings. The castle is so beautiful. It inspired also Lord Byron who wrote “The Prisoner of Chillon” about this place. But the castle made a huge impression not only on me but also on well-known people (e.g. Rousseau, Victor Hugo or Stendhal), who visited Chillon in the last few centuries.
Autumn panorama on the shores of Lake Lugano. In the Italian part of Switzerland, you almost have a Riviera feel. The Mediterranean atmosphere, beautiful Renaissance buildings, cozy cafes, all the luxury brands on the promenade with nicely dressed businessmen. It’s like a mini Italy or at least Milan, where fashion is one of the main characters of everyday life.
Last but not least, if I was in the Swiss Riviera, I also headed to the French coasts and Montreaux. Thanks to the special climate, it’s warm here all year round. Palm trees, almond trees and various citrus trees adorn the shores of Lake Geneva. Montreux is one of Switzerland’s most prestigious resorts and home of the arts with its jazz festival. One of my fondest memories here is the statue of Freddie Mercury Here in Montreaux, he made his last album called Made in Heaven, in a casino before he died in 1991. In style, I close the Swiss memorial train with a Show must go on: “My soul is colorful, like the wings of butterflies. Yesterday’s fairy tales grow up, but they never die”